Biology Major,
Pre-Dental Concentration

Department of Biology

Preparing for a career in dentistry

Coordinator: Dr. Tim Shannon

The Biology Major with a Pre-Dental Concentration tailors the standard biology major to meet the course requirements to apply to professional programs in dentistry. Students interested in going to dental schools will complete the same curriculum as the normal Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology with a little less flexibility in the choices of elective courses. Pre-Dental students should acquaint themselves with the specific requirements of the dental schools to which they plan to apply for admission, as every school has its own course requirements. Ideally this should be done by the end of the sophomore year as students begin to register for upper-level science courses. Each student planning a career in dentistry should also register with the Pre-Dental Coordinator to get assigned the appropriate advisor.

Applying to Dental School

Students are encouraged to send applications to a number of potential dental schools, not just one. Applicants to dental school are usually expected to have taken at least 90 hours of undergraduate work, though preference is given to those who have completed a bachelor’s degree. At the minimum, most dental schools require the following:

  • Required coursework: Since they don’t usually have specific courses requirements, the curriculum listed below meets the minimal recommendations of most dental schools.
  • GPA requirement: Most dental schools do not have a specific GPA requirement, but the average needed to get in is around a 3.6.
  • Professional experience: Successful applicants usually have experience in some or all of the following:
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Leadership roles
    • Independent research
    • Clinical internships/shadowing
    • Membership in professional/honor societies
    • Evidence of presentation and communication skills
  • Entrance exam: Dental Schools require the Dental Admission Test (DAT).
    • The average score for acceptance during the 2021-2022 cycle was 18, but this could vary widely by school.
    • Generally, you should score a 20-21 for your application to be competitive.
  • Application service: Most dental schools use the ADEA Associated American Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS) for the original application. Some schools may request a supplemental application after you have applied.
  • Letters of recommendation: At least 3 are required.

If your application is strong enough, most schools will request an in-person interview. After the interview, you will either be accepted, rejected, or placed on a waiting list. As other candidates accept or decline offers, those on the waiting list may receive offers. If your application is rejected, there are several things you can do to strengthen your application: retake the DAT for a higher score, retake courses to increase GPA, perfect your personal statement, gain additional clinical hours and/or research experience, practice with mock interviews, reconsider your letter writers, apply to more schools, or submit your application for “early admission” consideration.

General Education Requirements

Communications (9 hours)

Social Sciences (9 hours)

  • POLI 101: U.S. Government or POLI 103: Introduction to Political Science (3)
  • Two elective courses in Anthropology (ANTH), Economics (ECON), Geography (GEOG), Political Science (POLI), or Sociology (SOCI). (3)
    • Honors (HNRS) courses 250-259 will also fulfill this requirement.

Humanities (12 hours)

  • Literature (ENGL) (3)
  • History (HIST) (3)
  • Fine Art Appreciation (ART 101, MUSI 101, or THEA 101) (3)
  • One elective course in Art (ART), Literature (ENGL), History (HIST), Music (MUSI), Theater (THEA), or Philosophy & Religious Studies (PRS) or AAAS 200: Introduction to African American Studies or GNDR 200: Gender Studies (3)
    • Honors (HNRS) courses 260-269 will also fulfill this requirement.

Mathematics (6 hours)

  • A minimum of 6 hours of mathematics courses MATH 111 or higher.
    • Most Pre-Dental Majors take:
      • MATH 111: College Algebra II (3)
      • MATH 132: College Trigonometry with Analytic Geometry (3)

Natural Sciences (12 hours)

  • A minimum of 12 hours of science courses with laboratories.
    • Pre-Dental Majors fulfill this General Education requirement automatically.
    • Biology (BIOL) or Environmental Science (ENVR) (4)
    • Chemistry (CHEM), Physics (PHYS), or Physical Science (PSCI) (4)
    • Astronomy (ASTR), Biology (BIOL), Chemistry (CHEM), Environmental Science (ENVR), Physics (PHYS), Physical Science (PSCI), Psychology (PSYC 206/216) (4)
      • Honors (HNRS) courses 280-289 will also fulfill this requirement.

Major Requirements

Biology (36 hours)

  • One course from Introductory Group I: (4)
    • BIOL 105/BIOL 115L: Biological Sciences I
      • BIOL 103 and BIOL 104 may substitute for BIOL 105/115L with permission from the Department.
    • BIOL 107: Integrated Biological Concepts I
  • One course from Introductory Group II: (4)
  • One course from the Cellular and Molecular Biology Block: (4)
  • Genetics and Evolution Block: (4)
  • Three additional (BIOL) courses are needed to bring the total biology credits to 36 hours.
    • Courses must be 200-level or above.
    • Recommended elective courses are Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Microbiology, and additional courses in the Cellular & Molecular Biology Block not already taken.
    • The BIOL 494: Pre-Health Internship course does not fulfill the biology elective requirements for the Pre-Dental concentration.
  • BIOL 499: Biology Capstone Seminar (1)

Chemistry Minor (19 hours)

Physics (8 hours)


Additional Information

  • Additional elective courses in any discipline may be needed to reach the total 120 hours required for graduation.
    • When choosing electives, students should remember that certain career paths may seek knowledge that are not strictly required for the biology major.
      • Examples: technical writing, statistics, calculus, computer science, business and accounting, management, etc.
  • To advance to a higher biology course, a student must earn a grade of C or higher in each prerequisite biology course.

Ars Medica Club for Pre-Health Students

All Pre-Health Students are invited to join the Ars Medica Club at Francis Marion University, which provides an outlet for meeting other students and participate in health-related campus and community events. Ars Medica has been in existence at Francis Marion University since 1974. Its primary goal is to bring in outside speakers for health-related career planning and information. This serves to inform students of career options and provides a venue for social interaction with other students having similar interests.